CRANSTON – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State will provide support services starting Nov. 1 for the southeastern Connecticut Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter, which will close Oct. 31.
Approximately 50 children and their mentors will be left without a program come the end of the month, but on the first day of November, the Rhode Island organization will begin to support those children and families in the mentoring program and continue to operate a southeastern Connecticut Donation Center program.
Deborah Saunders, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State, said the Rhode Island group has the resources and the ability to support those already enrolled. Matches of children and mentors will be re-opened, requiring an assessment and acceptance into the Rhode Island-based program.
“We have a long history of partnering with BBBS-SECT through our Donation Center business; this is a continuation and expansion of an already well-established relationship with Connecticut families,” she said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State is a separate affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and offers mentoring programs to children throughout Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts towns.
Since 1998, the organization has partnered with the Southeastern Connecticut affiliate to run the donation collection program which collects gently-used clothing and household items for resale to support the mentoring programs run separately by each organization in its assigned coverage area. Items donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters donation center are sold at Savers thrift stores throughout Rhode Island, and these proceeds are used to support the mentoring programs.
In the last 15 years, this donation collection program has raised thousands of dollars that have gone to directly support children in Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.
“We will also continue to operate the donation center program in southeastern Connecticut so that residents can take advantage of our free, convenient home pick-up service and continue to support the Connecticut children who benefit from the mentoring programs,” said Lori Viner, Rhode Island’s operations manager.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State serves over 500 children and families annually.
Information about donating gently used clothing and miscellaneous household items may be found by calling (401) 921-2434, or toll free in Connecticut at 877-725-6843 or by visiting www.BBBSOS.org.